The 9th Circuit Court is one of Newt Gingrich’s favorite targets. Indeed, he has called for the court to be abolished, simply because his religious politics don’t align with the court’s attempts to make all citizens fair and equal under the Constitution.
When not arrogantly pontificating about how to best organize America with his myopic view of history (obtained by way of a PhD), the Newt likes to elaborate on his crusade against the 9th Circuit, stating:
“I’ve been working on this project since 2002 when the Ninth Circuit court said that ‘one nation under God’ is unconstitutional in the Pledge of Allegiance. And I decided that if you had judges that were so radically anti-American that they thought ‘one nation under God’ was wrong, they shouldn’t be on the court.”
Newt then likes to point to history (so as to awe listeners and short-circuit their reasoning with his allegedly profound intellect), noting this precedent was established when President Thomas Jefferson abolished 18 out of 35 federal judges in 1802. What Newt won’t tell his faithful flock, or anyone who happens to be listening to his bloviations, is that Jefferson reorganized the federal judiciary for political reasons—he was opposed to the Federalists and to the shape the courts had taken under George Washington and John Adams. But of course there’s more to the story.
These Federalist judges—who dominated the Supreme and circuit courts—had been the ones aggressively enforcing The Alien and Sedition Acts, a response to Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans’ support of France after that country’s revolution.
The fourth law was The Sedition Act, a lovely piece of legislation which stated that anyone publishing “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government or certain officials could be charged with a crime. The Sedition Act was used by the Federalists to ensure their primacy over Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican party.
So, you see, Newt Gingrich is full of shit, okay?
Let’s not dwell on Newt’s distorted sense of history, though, but return to his crusade against the 9th Circuit. Today, the Newt tweeted, “Court of Appeals overturning CA’s Prop 8 another example of an out of control judiciary. Let’s end judicial supremacy.”
The 9th Circuit three-judge panel was simply attempting to ensure that all individuals are treated fair and equal under the U.S. Constitution. It is not a political ruling, but a purely constitutional one.
But, let’s engage in a little of Newt Gingrich’s brand of false analogy for a moment. Perhaps Gingrich, in feeling that California was right in trampling on the rights of homosexuals, is not unlike the Federalists who, if they had had their way, would have imprisoned and fined anyone who spoke or wrote ill of a public figure.
In fact, I will now take the opportunity afforded me by Jefferson’s efforts against the Sedition Act to say to Newt Gingrich, “Fuck you, dickwad, and may many misfortunes befall you on the campaign trail.”